Salton Sea Ethical Analysis

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The Salton Sea is 110-year-old lake that covers 350 square miles but is becoming increasingly salty and smaller in area. Over 400 species of migrating birds are attracted to the marshes and the fish. This essay will focus on three primary ethical dilemmas presented by the Salton Sea issue: Who/What matters more in this situation? Since the sea was human made, is it legal and ethical for humankind to sell the water as a commodity? Does an issue have to impact a larger/greater community for it to be prioritized? The main ethical dilemma faced by the Salton Sea is determining if either of the following two populations have greater importance - “hundreds of humans who work the land” (Burringer) or “millions of birds that stop to rest and gorge…show more content…
The final ethical dilemma refers to the fact that the Salton Sea issue only directly impacts a small portion of the human population. To truly address all of the ethical dilemmas listed, the people managing this issue have to be guided by concepts and rationales that look beyond the needs of corporations and the wealthy and seek to fix issues so that they do not disproportionately impact non-human animals and oppressed groups. Within the article, the author talks about how the Salton Sea issue impacts the local birds as well as the human population. As the water continues to disappear, the pelicans and grebes have less fish to eat. If the fish disappear, the migrating birds would have almost nothing to eat. Additionally, the dust in the air causes the local children population to have high rates of asthma in the country. As more and more sand is exposed, the wind will create dust clouds that will make it impossible to abide by federal air quality standards. There are two concepts that people could use to determine how to manage the first ethical dilemma listed. The two sides of environmental ethics can be generalized into life-centered ethics and human-centered ethics. Life-centered ethics relies on the idea that humankind is morally bound to protect…show more content…
Moncrief identified the environmental crisis as having three major areas of improvement - an absence of personal moral direction concerning our treatment of our natural resources, inability to adjust to stress, and a faith in technology. The area of improvement that pertains the most to the Salton Sea crisis is moral disparity. As stated within the article, corporate executives are often praised for increasing profits by ignoring pollution abatement laws. As discussed by Bullard, the current law requires a person to sue a polluter to invasion of human rights which can be difficult for those who cannot economically afford the lawyers needed to sue these large companies. For this reason, pollution and other environmental issues disproportionately impact oppressed groups. When faced with this problem, the people managing the Salton Sea crisis should consider implementing the system suggested by Wenz. The system is intended to prevent rich people (and companies) from being able to avoid exposure to harmful environments as well as lessen their involvement in decisions regarding overall pollution. The system itself involves communities earning equal pollution points that cannot be bought and sold on the market. In theory, the system would solve problems involving hazardous waste and companies would no longer be able to export pollution to poor

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